New Addis Ababa stadium

New facility will be up to FIFA standards

A 60,000-seat stadium is currently under construction in the Bole district of Addis Ababa, south-east of the centre.

On completion the 1.6 billion birr-stadium will be Ethiopia's first to meet standards set by the international football governing body FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association).

Residents of the area, known locally as Chereqa Sefer, were relocated before the demolition of numerous houses on the 60-hectare site.

Following an international design competition in 2012, the Federal Sports Commission of Ethiopia selected the winning design by  Australia's Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA), a Sydney-based firm which collaborated with Addis Ababa architects Designsport and JDAW.

The architects said they were inspired by the volcanic landscape and culture of Ethiopia. The stadium's crater-like design references the region's ancient underground dwellings and cisterns, and includes shapes inspired by the country's famous coffee beans. The building's façade material recalls the Massob, a traditional Ethiopian basket made from woven grass.

The pitch will be located below ground level, while the sports village will have indoor and outdoor aquatic centres and a range of sports facilities and accommodation for athletes. It is envisaged that the landmark stadium will be used for cultural, religious and national events, in addition to regular sporting fixtures.

Currently there are two other stadiums in Addis Ababa: the 35,000-seater Addis Ababa Stadium which was built by Emperor Haile Selassie in 1940, and the 30,000-seater Abebe Bikila Stadium, which was never properly finished and is used for club level football matches in the Ethiopian Premier League.